As more students phase back in, SPS Day Camps are being phased out

SPOKANE, Wash. — At the start of the school year, many parents scrambled to find childcare options.

Places like the YMCA and the Northeast Youth Center filled in the gaps for some, but Spokane Public Schools decided to start Day Camps for Kindergarten through 6th grade.

It was specifically designed to help parents whose work schedules wouldn’t allow them to be home with their children as they attended school remotely.

But now that students are phasing back to in-person learning — with 4th graders starting this week already — Day Camps are phasing out.

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The SPS Day Camps were all at elementary school locations and students were supported during their virtual learning hours.

Now that the camps are closing, the same services will be offered at Express Childcare once again, but before and after school instead.

“It’s a real safe and nurturing environment. The staff in the Express program have done this for years and they’re just seen as just a really important part of a student’s life,” said Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson. “It ranges from doing academic kinds of things to social kinds of things and building relationships with kids.”

Applications have been open for a while now for Express Childcare.

Sixteen sites are opening up this month over a three-week period — some opened this week. And because of COVID-19 it’s limited to 20 students per location.

Parents who sign their kids up can expect the same support experienced during the Day Camps.

“Help students stay connected with their teachers, working on their laptops and so forth. so as we move back to our before and after school program, the Express staff again will be helping students with their homework, getting those kinds of activities done, probably mostly afterschool,” said Anderson.

Fifth and sixth graders returning to class is still up in the air, but if they do go back to in-person learning, it’s on an A/B hybrid schedule.

On the days they are virtual learning, parents have the option to keep them in Day Camp.

Spokane Public Schools is keeping Day Camp running at three locations: Salk Middle School, Rogers High School and Jefferson Elementary School.